Charles Darwin University

CDU eSpace
Institutional Repository

CDU Staff and Student only

Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages Professor Michael John Christie (Managed by) Dr Brian Clive Devlin (Managed by) Professor Jane Helen Simpson (Managed by)

Christie, Michael J., Devlin, Brian and Simpson, Jane Helen (2012): Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages Professor Michael John Christie (Managed by) Dr Brian Clive Devlin (Managed by) Professor Jane Helen Simpson (Managed by). Charles Darwin University.

Document type: Dataset
Citation counts: Google Scholar Search Google Scholar

School, Research Institute or Centre Northern Institute
Contact Name Bow, Cathy
Contact email
Postal Address Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages The Northern Institute Charles Darwin University Darwin, NT 0909 Australia
Access Condition The materials in the Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages are available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia license.
Project Name Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages
Project Link
Project Description The Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages ( is a digital archive of endangered literature in approximately 25 Australian Indigenous languages from the Northern Territory, starting with books which were produced in NT Literature Production Centres during the era of bilingual education between 1973 and 2000. Approximately 4000 texts have been identified from 20 Literature Production Centres (most now closed), and due to the demise of bilingual programs, many of the materials produced for these programs are no longer in use, and in many places are being lost, damaged or, occasionally, deliberately destroyed.

The collection has been formed via interaction with language owners, who have been asked for permission to put the books in the archive, invited to make comments about them and asked if they would be happy to be contacted for further collaborative research work. Setting up the repository involves identifying and sourcing the books, scanning and digitising them, converting them to text files and checking both texts and metadata.

The collection includes a wide range of materials developed in the bilingual programs for use in the classroom, but also for the wider community. They included teaching materials, literacy primers, children’s stories, stories of local cultural significance, such as non-sacred versions of Dreaming or Creation stories, histories, experience stories, natural science, instructional manuals, cautionary tales, environmental knowledge, traditional practices, oral literature, and ethno-botany texts.

The materials derive from bilingual education programs in the following remote communities of the Northern Territory: Angurugu, Areyonga, Barunga, Galiwin’ku, Gunbalanya (Oenpelli), Kaltukatjara (Docker River), Lajamanu, Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa), Maningrida, Milingimbi, Nguiu (Wurrumiyanga), Numbulwar, Papunya, Umbakumba, Wadeye, Waḻungurru (Kintore), Warruwi, Willowra, Yipirinya, Yirrkala and Yuendumu.
The languages represented in the archive include: Anindilyakwa, Burarra, Dalabon, Dhuwal (including Djapu and Djambarrpuyŋu), Dhuwala, (including Gumatj and Gupapuyŋu), Djaŋu (including Warramiri), Djauan (Jawoyn), Djinaŋ, Eastern Arrernte, Gunwinggu (Kunwinjku), Gurrogoni, Kriol, Maung, Murrinh-Patha, Ndjébbana, Ngandi, Nunggubuyu (Wubuy), Pintupi-Luritja, Pitjantjatjara, Rembarrnga, Ritharrŋu, Tiwi, Warlpiri and Western Arrernte, with occasional items from other languages.

The dataset is available online through, which uses a custom-built interface to the materials stored on Charles Darwin University Library’s open source Fez and Fedora based research repository, known as eSpace. The dataset includes presentation copies of the materials – with PDF versions for display and printing, plus plain text files (in Unicode). The preservation versions (TIFF files of each digitised page) will be available on application. The metadata is compatible with OLAC (Open Language Archives Community) standards, and so can be easily harvested through search engines.
ARC Grant No. LE140100063
Data Collection Name Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages Professor Michael John Christie (Managed by) Dr Brian Clive Devlin (Managed by) Professor Jane Helen Simpson (Managed by)
Creator Christie, Michael J.
Devlin, Brian
Simpson, Jane Helen
Collection Start Date 2012
Type of Data in Collection digitised books, audio
Keyword language studies
Time Period Start Date 1973
Time Period End Date 2000
Description of Resource 2632 open access records in CDU eSpace repository at 12th October 2015
Language eng
ANZSRC Field of Research (FoR) Code 200319 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages
RFCD 420103 Aboriginal Languages
Related Datasets Indigenous languages recorded as part of the Queensland Speech Survey:
Related Publications Bow, Catherine, Michael Christie, and Brian Devlin. 2014. Developing a Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages. Language Documentation & Conservation 8. 345-360.

Christie, M., Devlin, B., Bow. C., (2014) The Birth of the Living Archive: An emerging archive of Australian Aboriginal languages and literature. Archifact October, 48-63

Devlin, Brian, Christie, M., Bow, C., Joy, P., Green, R., (2014). Exploring the Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages. Curriculum Perspectives (34), 3.

Publisher Charles Darwin University
Published Date 2012
Copyright Notice CDU is committed to providing a research environment that will promote a high standard of professional conduct by its researchers, and a culture of research practice that is ethical, competent, safe and accountable. This research was conducted in accordance with the principles outlined in relevant Commonwealth and Northern Territory legislation and guidelines, and other University policies, procedures and guidelines. National guidelines that this research adhered to include: * The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (* Values and Ethics: Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (* National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (* AIATSIS Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies (* Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protocols for Libraries, Archives and Information Services ( documents are all relevant to CDU policies and guidelines.
Version Filter Type
Access Statistics: 77 Abstract Views  -  Detailed Statistics
Created: Mon, 12 Oct 2015, 14:25:52 CST by Neil Godfrey